Poetry is a form of activism – ‘it contains the potential to ask difficult questions, to participate in literary spaces, to push past discomfort, and to build worlds where possibilities drive us.’ (Janice Lobo Sapigao). Considering this, our latest release embodies difficult questions around race, class, gender and survival to remind poetry lovers that there is more to it than passive consumption. We must be awake, alert and engaging with poetry.

More Mixed Messages by Mark ‘Mr T’ Thompson is a rich follow on from his first collection Mixed Messages, in which he makes clear that these topics and situations are still evolving, frustratingly stagnant or deeply intersected. We look to Mark’s experiences in producing work with various communities, and how poetry becomes that bridge between living and and witnessing oppression. There is rage, joy and movement in More Mixed Messages, and we are glad to have Mark on our 10th anniversary list.

Poet, performer, educator, Mark Thompson trained at Rose Bruford College in Theatre. Retraining as a Drama teacher at Goldsmiths College in 2004. He’s still acting and teaching while performing his poetry and facilitating workshops on culture, identity and poetics.

Publishing Mixed Messages in 2009, he has toured nationally, taking his poems as far afield as Johannesburg in person and worldwide online from Ronnie Scott’s to the Paralympics. Featured on Radio 4, BBC Radio London, Jazz FM and Choice FM, his commissions include work with The Royal Maritime Museum, the charities The ACLT and Crisis, as well as BBC Radio Four, for whom he crafted a suite of poems for ‘Lights Out: From the Ashes of New Cross’ in 2020.

A founder of the ‘Poetry in London’ Facebook group, Thompson has curated and hosted events from ‘Lipped Ink’ at the Poetry Society Café, to ‘Fighting Talk’ at Greenwich Theatre and monthly online events ‘Poetry from the Grassroots’.

In print he has featured in the Morning Star and three anthologies since 2020; Poets Against Trump, Football is Poetry and Poetry is our Protest – a collaboration with Spoken with whom he also contributed to a poetry exchange with Born Lippy in Newcastle in 2021.

Mark hosted local Black Lives Matter events in 2020 and contributed poetry to commemorations of ‘The Battle of Lewisham’ and the New Cross fire, helping to immortalise local moments in Black British history. With a children’s picture book in development, poetry workshops for East Side Educational Trust and contributing to a transatlantic webinar with Digital Theatre+ on the history of Black poetry in English, there’s been a lot going on!

‘Philosophers can keep interpreting the world, it’s us who needs to change it!’